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Interdisciplinary panel to consider ‘Nature of Reality’

March 25, 2011

What happens when physicists, biologists, physicians, philosophers and a self-proclaimed skeptic get together to discuss whether there’s an ultimate reality?

Find out at Chapman University’s “The Nature of Reality” panel discussion at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 31, in the Folino Theater in Marion Knott Studios.  Among the panel’s many distinguished participants will be the spiritual philosopher and physician Deepak Chopra, M.D., Michael Shermer, Ph.D., founding editor of Skeptic Magazine and  Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., dean of Schmid College and Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor of Computational Physics. The discussion will be moderated by Chancellor Daniele Struppa and ask the experts to consider the questions, “Is there an ultimate reality?” and, if so, “Can it be accounted for by science such as mathematics, biology and physics?”

One of the panel participants from Chapman University, Carmichael Peters, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Religious Studies, Wilkinson College, says the event promises to be captivating.

“The questions being addressed in this public conversation occasion an exchange among thinkers from across the academic spectrum on a subject of common concern. Such a conversation can display both the benefits and limits of interdisciplinarity,” Dr. Peters said.

Indeed, the panel will represent a variety of views, said William Wright, Ph.D., associate professor, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Schmid College.

“It gives the public a chance to see these different perspectives. Thinkers are not a homogenous group. This allows the audience, the public, to triangulate, to actually get a better idea of what’s lurking behind shadows by seeing them from a different angle,” Dr. Wright said.

Such discourse is what the university is all about, said Dean Kafatos.

“We believe that issues with a wide variety of viewpoints such as this distinguished panel brings are best addressed in an open dialogue between the sciences, and humanities and philosophy. Such interdisciplinary events are hallmarks of the openness and vitality that define Chapman University,” Dr. Kafatos said.

Also on the panel will be Stuart Hameroff, M.D., emeritus professor of anesthesiology and psychology at the University of Arizona and well-known expert on consciousness; Leonard Mlodinow, Ph.D., Caltech physicist and co-author with Stephen Hawking of The Grand Design;  Henry Stapp, Ph.D., physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and expert on the nature of consciousness as seen through quantum mechanics; and Jim Walsh, founder and chairman of the board of Human Energy System Alliance.

The Nature of Reality event is organized by the Schmid College of Science in partnership with the Dodge College of Film & Media Arts and the Wilkinson College of Humanities and Social Sciences. For ticket information, visit The Nature of Reality website.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Schmid College permalink
    March 30, 2011 9:30 am

    Registration for “The Nature of Reality” closes 3/30/11 at 2pm! Get your tickets now at

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